The Law Offices of Stephen B. Morris recently handled a case for multiple employees against XYZ Corporation*, where a sexually hostile work environment persisted for years, despite multiple protests to Human Resources (HR) by the employees involved. The Store Manager at the fast food restaurant, part of a chain of restaurants, made sexually harassing comments daily, in front of both employees and customers, such as asking the employees sexual questions, or even going so far as to directly solicit them for sex. Despite multiple complaints to management, this manager was allowed to persist in his position for several years, making the lives of his employees a living hell.
Finally, after enduring daily sexual harassment for months, one of our clients gathered her fellow coworkers together to submit written complaints to HR detailing the manager’s litany of daily sexual comments and gestures. While HR did conduct an internal investigation, it was completely ineffective and did not result in anything being done by the company to remedy the situation. Instead, one of our clients was called into an HR meeting following the filing of the complaints and was informed that she was being suspended without pay, and that it was not her business to collect statements from other employees or investigate the sexually hostile manager’s conduct, despite the fact that our client was herself a manager. She was then fired.
It was later discovered that not only was sexual harassment occurring, but also that no sexual harassment training was in place to prevent the occurrence of sexually hostile and gender based comments in the workplace. Despite higher management’s and HR’s knowledge of the absence of sexual harassment training and the fact that sexual harassment had experienced occurred, nothing was done to remedy the situation. As a result of the sexual harassment and the lack of adequate remedial action taken by XYZ Corporation, our clients later filed claims of discrimination with the EEOC and each of them received a “Right to Sue letter.” The EEOC discovered that sexual harassment had in fact occurred at XYZ Corporation and that the “investigations” were designed to avoid actually documenting what had occurred. Mr. Morris pursued arbitrations against XYZ Company and the cases settled prior to the arbitration hearings in favor of Mr. Morris’ clients in excess of $300,000.
*The actual names of the parties involved have not been used due to confidentiality agreements in the settlement of these matters.